Tag Archives: ranting & raving

Merry Christmas. Feed the World.

Do They Know It's Christmas

It’s December 24th. Christmas Eve. Let Them Eat Vinyl headquarters is a lively place tonight. We may or may not be getting drunk. And by that I mean we are. You know what else we are doing? Dancing around our living room, listening to our favourite Christmas song.

There are many great Christmas songs out there, but this one holds a special place in our hearts. The Finn was in high school when it was released, and tells me that everyone loved it — the punks, the headbangers, the new wavers, the rockers. It was a universal song, and those don’t come along too often. I was seven years old and actually living in Africa at the time, and although I was one of the lucky ones who never had to worry about food on my table, it’s important to remember that this is still an all-too-common problem in the world, almost 30 years after this song came out. So let’s continue Bob Geldof’s good works, and try to help out those less fortunate than ourselves, whenever and however we can.

This Christmas, we wish the best to you and your family. We love you, and we hope that you keep visiting our site, because it is our goal to entertain you and hopefully make you think about why you love music. Music is one of the greatest things in the world, and we are all lucky to have it.

So please enjoy our favorite Christmas song, ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’:

p.s. How amazing is this song?? Paul Weller! Boy George! Simon Le Bon! Bono! Phil Collins on drums! And I am kind of crushing on a young Sting. Also, how beautiful is Jody Watley? Everyone looks so ’80s and awesome. We love it. Peace, love and joy to you all.


Blue Peter & Chalk Circle: New Romantics and The Oshawa Tree

Saturday, October 1st — Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto

Tonight in the city there are no neighborhoods, only letters — A, B and C. Nuit Blanche has begun and the streets are coming alive with people ready to interact with art and each other. You have to decide which letter will begin your experience. For me, it’s B for Blue Peter and C for Chalk Circle. These names sound like Pop Art and minimalist paintings — I am obviously getting into the feel of Nuit Blanche.

I arrive at the Phoenix Concert Theatre halfway through Blue Peter’s set. On stage Paul Humphrey is sharply dressed. He looks like he could be on the set of Twin Peaks. His delivery is a collage of David Byrne, Ian Curtis and Bryan Ferry — so much coming at you at once, he is a compelling front man. I get to hear my favorites, ‘Radio Silence’ and ‘Don’t Walk Past’. These songs seamlessly fuse the condensed drone and angles of post punk with the smooth crooning of the New Romantic period. “Don’t walk on past”– you just wanted to whisper it to that girl in the hall, but it seemed so hard. A great, earnest, self-conscious love song. Check the video – it won Best Video of 1983 from the Canadian Film and Television Association.

Chalk Circle takes the stage and I overhear a group of people discussing how pleasantly surprised they are by the turnout. I am too. Chalk Circle recorded one EP and 2 albums during the 80’s. Their biggest selling record, The Mending Wall, was recorded at Quest Studios in Oshawa, Ontario and dubbed ‘The Oshawa Tree’. Is Chalk Circle Canada’s U2? Maybe, but only if you insist on viewing all things as derivative of others. If creating earnest, thoughtful and politically conscious rock & roll makes them Canada’s U2 then sure, it’s a fair comparison. But it always pissed me off when people would say that about Chalk Circle. It is so rare when an artist is able to create a new color in the spectrum — when it happens it is monumental and everyone is affected. I would argue (and I wouldn’t be alone) that The Edge created a new color with his guitar sound with U2. And yeah, Chalk Circle were inspired by that, along with millions of other people — but to dismiss their music as “U2-lite” does them a disservice. These are some great songs. Whew…looks like this show is stirring up lots of thoughts and emotions for me. OK, I’m done for now. But I will never stop taking the piss out of music snobs — no room for them.

I’m feeling fired up. Chris Tait is sneering away and Brad Hopkins’ bass is punching, pushing, and pulling me around. It’s nice to hear the bass way up front. As I’m getting my groove on I’m beginning to feel the political weight of the 80’s. It starts with ‘This Mourning’ with Tait spitting out the lyrics: “It’s 11 o’clock and they talk of him / About the eve of destruction / And a new ray gun / For my defense / A mended fence”. I’m taken down memory lane right back to “Ray-Gun Reagan”, Star Wars weapons in space, and the arms race. Later, they play the pretty guitar song ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ — a term that was new to me in high school. Now that I am a land owner ‘N.I.M.B.Y.’ tests me, revealing things I didn’t know about myself and my ideologies. Wow, I am tripping now — loud music and politics filling my head. Then comes the hammer fall of ‘Sons and Daughters’ a seething indictment of Free trade: “They see gold in your trees and gold in your people / They’ll be panning for it in your water”. I begin to remember the uncertainty and anxiety during the 80’s about how Free Trade would change Canada. It felt like our sovereignty and economic future was up for grabs and the Americans were getting too good of a deal.

I leave the concert with a warm feeling and a head full of politics, and I like it. Election signs are all over the place, on people’s lawns and on store fronts. Election week is upon us, and this is the perfect time to think about what kind of politics we want for Ontario.


Song of the Day: ‘Express Yourself’ by N.W.A.

nwa

So, I’ve never thought of myself as a particularly aggressive person. But lately I’ve realized that there are actually a lot of things that I rant about, and my rants seem to be increasing in their rate of occurence. I hung out with Donkeysuit last night and he agreed that I seem more fired up than usual. I’m not entirely sure why this is, but I think it might have something to do with the fact that I’m writing more which in turn is making me think more, about everything (not just music). It’s not entirely unpleasant, to be honest with you. I’m enjoying having an outlet for my thoughts, and if it’s spilling over into my daily life (i.e. when I’m talking to actual humans rather than banging away on a computer keyboard) then that’s cool too.

Anyway, here are a few of my current rants:

  • Phil Spector
    Look, I’m sorry, but I don’t know why anyone out there is remotely surprised that it came to this. Phil Spector had been pulling guns on people for years, people. YEARS. And then he finally went and murdered someone. Yeah, law enforcement officials, couldn’t have seen that one coming. Why didn’t someone lock this man up before he started offing people? The signs were all there. A LIFE COULD HAVE BEEN SAVED.
  • The TTC (Toronto Transit Commision)
    I don’t care that it costs more to take the subway in Toronto than in New York freaking City. I don’t even care that sometimes I’ll be waiting for a streetcar in the freezing cold depths of winter for over half an hour, and then 10 will show up in a row. Those things annoy me, sure, but not as much as the complete lack of customer service exhibited by some of the TTC’s operators, some of whom are honestly so unpleasant that I don’t even know what to say about it. Look, I get it, TTC drivers — you’re exposed to the drooling, unwashed masses all day. I don’t doubt that can be extremely annoying. But it is, in the end, part of the job.
  • People Who Wear Sweat Pants
    Here’s the deal: when you see someone wearing sweat pants, it is a sure sign that they have pretty much given up on life. I’m not talking about the cute Lululemon exercise pants or those flashy Adidas track pants & whatnot. I’m talking about the grey sweatpants, the ones with elastic around the ankles. These are only acceptable on little kids and very old people (on whom they look awesome). When it comes to everyone else…c’mon, just pull your lives together, people. Whatever it is, it can’t be that bad. Tell your friend Spencer about it, maybe I can help. Just stay away from the sweat pants.
  • The Toronto Waterfront
    In the past few years I’ve been to Chicago and Boston. You know what those two cities have in common? Amazing waterfronts. I would like to know who the jackass was that totally screwed up the planning of the Toronto waterfront. It doesn’t even feel like we live in a city on a lake. Seriously. There is so much wasted potential here it makes me want to cry.
  • Sidenote: I know it seems like I’m complaining a lot about my city. I don’t hate it here, in fact I love it, which is why it frustrates me to see a few major areas of city life that are sorely in need of improvement.

Anyway! All of these thoughts rattling around in the old brain have gotten me thinking about the importance of being able to say what’s on our minds, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, especially when it’s critical or controversial. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like in some ways there’s been a subtle constriction on freedom of speech in the last couple of years. Is it just me? I mean, why doesn’t facebook have a “dislike” button? Maybe sometimes I don’t like what you’re saying. I should have the right to tell you that, shouldn’t I? It’s not like I’m going to be a total jerk and argue with you about everything. We can handle it if we don’t agree, right? Can we? Maybe we can’t. Maybe that’s what all of this is leading to — people who get totally bent out of shape when they’re told “no” instead of “yes”. But if all we’re doing is going around patting each other on the back then we are not challenging one other and fostering critical thought.

Freedom of speech is important for our society. As Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”.*

*Actually, this quote is often mistakenly attributed to Voltaire. It was, in fact, his biographer who said it about him, as an example of the beliefs that he espoused.

This is why I’ve chosen N.W.A.’s ‘Express Yourself’ as my Song of the Day. These guys obviously had no compunction about speaking their minds. Somewhat ironically, this is pretty much one of the only N.W.A. songs that doesn’t contain lyrics that are violent, mysogynistic or profane in nature, and thus wouldn’t have been censored for radio play. If I really wanted to drive home my point about freedom of speech then I guess I could have chosen ‘F*ck tha Police’ or something of that ilk, but y’know what, this is a great song and it speaks to the topic at hand.

*There’s no video for this one, obvs. But please enjoy this photo of N.W.A. posing with firearms.

And now, it’s your turn. What’s got you ranting these days? Tell us all about it.


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